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It’s hard to believe how long it’s been since I last posted.  I’ve been inpatient for a week, outpatient for 5 or 6 weeks, on vacation for a week and down with a wretched case of bronchitis for the last three weeks.  I could have written while I was outpatient or while I was sick, but for some reason I couldn’t do it.  I had no ideas and no words would come trying to free write.  And it wasn’t for lack of stories.  I have plenty to talk about.

I think it was Fear.

A couple weeks into the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) I realized two things.

First, I wasn’t bouncing back from this breakdown the way I used to.  I’ve had a Major Depressive Episode, or as I prefer to call them, Nervous Breakdown, three times already, this was my fourth.  I like the term nervous breakdown because, for me, it’s a much more accurate description of how I feel then Major Depressive Episode.  I usually don’t feel depressed when the episode rams into gear.  I feel lost and scared and jumpy as all hell.

I know that the point of going inpatient isn’t really to make us well.  It’s to make us stable.  Stable enough to go home and hang on until our next therapy and psychiatrist appointment.  You don’t get to leave the hospital until you have those appointments set.

Unless, you are going to IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) or a PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program).  I was sent to a facility that provided both.  Five weeks of PHP and one week of IOP had me ready to graduate.  Which, as nervous as I was about that, I was glad to be going home full time.

My meds were changed by about 90%.  Lots of new stuff to take, lots of new side effects to try to shake off.  I’m back on Seroquel, which was not my choice, and the weight gain begins again.  I explained to the psychiatrist in the hospital that Seroquel has a major effect on my weight, but he told me that I couldn’t possibly be right because the packaging indicates a weight gain around 9 pounds  He didn’t believe me when I told him that the last time I gained nearly 60 pounds.  So Seroquel it is for now.  They took me off Trintellix, BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT.  Two days in, they told me to have hubby bring it from home.  He made a special trip and then they took me off it anyway.

PHP and IOP were a lot better.  Comfortable building, nice group therapy rooms, an on-staff psychiatrist, who was literally the best psychiatrist I have ever seen in my life.  Sadly, he doesn’t work in private practice and the only two psychiatrists he could recommend don’t take insurance.

Group therapy can be a dicey proposition.  It really comes down to the make up of the group and the facilitator.  For instance, I used to be really freaked out about cutting.  And during that tine, I was in a group with a cutter.  And it was very unsettling for me, so I didn’t get as much from the group as I might have otherwise.  Thankfully, my understanding of cutting is much better now, so when a woman who cut came to the PHP, it didn’t bother me.  I was extremely lucky to end up with a great group with wonderful people and excellent facilitators.  When I left, I was nervous, but I felt that I was re-armed by the coping skills I would need.

But, I digress.  Not only did I realize that I wasn’t bouncing back the same as I had previously, but I also realized that my life was never ever going to be the same again.  I felt my weakness.

See, I had always assumed, and worked towards this as much as possible, that my life would return to normal again.  I would feel good.  I would be able to work.  I would no longer end up in the psych ward or PHP or IOP.  Meds could be a thing of the past,

All I had to do was work hard enough.

But, it’s a lie.  And this is what terrifies me.

Day to day is a crapshoot as to how much I can get done.  There is an exhaustion that goes with where I am right now in my recovery, that I just can’t seem to escape.  I’m in bed by 8.  I generally don’t wake up till 7:30 or 8:00 am.  That’s a lot of sleep.  Sometimes I wake rested and sometimes I don’t.  I work my hardest to get things done by 2:00 because I usually start to crash around then.  Sometimes, I get a decent amount of stuff done, sometimes not.  But, when I don’t get much accomplished, I’m crippled with guilt about not getting more done.

And not having a job?  Oh my, that’s a bad one.  I’ve worked since I was a child, cleaning shelves in my Dad’s store.  I have worked ever since then.  I tied my identity to my Title Insurance work and have not been able to untie it yet.  The guilt of not working is intense and I think about it every day.  I talk about it in therapy more then I would like to have to.

Not bouncing back the way I used to and the feeling that I’m less then other people because I can’t work terrify me.  Is this a precursor of things to come?  Are things going to get worse?  If I end up inpatient again will it take even longer to bounce back?

I don’t know the answers to these questions.  No one does.  And I know many of you are struggling with one or both of these issues.  I know I’m not alone.  And that gives me some comfort.